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Kentucky women’s tennis sweeps Eastern Kentucky 7-0

Kentucky senior Elizabeth Stevens celebrates after winning a set during the Kentucky vs Wichita State women’s tennis match on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 5-2. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff

Kentucky women’s tennis hosted Eastern Kentucky on Sunday, Feb. 18, sweeping the Colonels 7-0 inside of the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. 

The inner-state matchup was seemingly a “get right game” for the Wildcats, who are 9-0 all-time against EKU. 

The Cats’ improved to 6-3 on the season, remaining undefeated at home. 

Despite a rough patch of three straight losses on the road, the Wildcats won their last two matches.

This momentum for Kentucky will be important to keep up as the team approaches conference play beginning in March.

After a dominant win over EKU, four things stuck out the most.

McClelland – Elizabeth Stevens cherishes every moment of her senior season, claims UK is a family 

Senior Elizabeth Stevens made her voice heard against EKU this past Sunday, winning her second singles match of the year 6-1, 6-3. 

Her excitement and enthusiasm on the court was apparent in her second straight singles victory. 

Stevens’ emotions connect to how she cherishes every moment and is proud to be a Wildcat. 

“Wearing UK on my chest means a lot, especially when I’m working for my teammates,” Stevens said. “I’ve just been enjoying being on the court, and I’m just leaving everything I have out there.”

Stevens, who is ranked No. 41 in the nation as a doubles pair with Makayla Mills, has also won two straight matches with her partner and continues to gain momentum. 

“I think we’re building together, and we’re coming together as a family,” Stevens said. “We’ve had some tough losses, but that’s kinda what makes us and shows how tough we are.” 

As an upperclassman with few chances left to play in blue and white, Stevens is adamant about what the team will do going forward. 

“We’re just gonna keep building off of this win, getting ready for SEC play and show them what Kentucky is made of,” Stevens said.

Brydges – Zoe Hammond held opponent scoreless, improves to the best singles record for her team

Zoe Hammond, a sophmore for the Wildcats, swept her opponent on Sunday in singles. 

“I really forget who I’m playing in general and just kind of focus on my game and how to play my opponent and kind of take away the human factor,” Hammond said. “I just tried to play the same point every single time, so the big points don’t feel as big.”

Hammond is playing a mental game by staying consistent and making every shot count. 

On a hot winning streak, Hammond’s thought process going forward for the rest of the season is all about positivity and modesty.

“I think my expectation is just to play the best I can every match,” Hammond said. “I compete the best I can because I try not to think about results or anything, but I think it’s good coming into SEC seven and one, but at the same time, it’s just a number.”

McClelland – Ellie Myers continues hot streak in singles play 

Along with Hammond, another second-year has been stepping up for the Wildcats. 

Ellie Myers nearly swept Eastern Kentucky’s Maria Triska, after a 6-1, 6-0 win. 

This ultimately improved her record to 7-2 on the year in singles. 

Myers, who didn’t see much action her freshman year, has held her own in her young collegiate career. 

The Wildcats have not had their best outings on the road. For Myers, she is 2-2 in singles play and 0-1 against nationally ranked opponents.

Going forward, Myers, who holds the second best singles record behind Hammond, is going to be a key part in the Cats’ long term success. 

Brydges – Julia Zhu closes out the match for the Wildcats against Eastern Kentucky University 

A freshman from Berlin, Germany, and the youngest on the team, Julia Zhu displayed spirit and determination throughout her match over the weekend. 

Overcoming her EKU opponent, she finished the final encounter for the Cats with a score of 6-0, 6-3.

Zhu stands at 5-2 on her overall record with a three-game winning streak. 

Zhu showed off her remarkable athleticism and strategic sense throughout the match, outwitting her opponent with strong serves and skillfully placed strokes.

Next up for the Wildcats, the team will begin conference play starting with Auburn on Friday, March 1, at 4 p.m. EST in Auburn, Alabama.

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